Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Troll Patrol

Alt-Rt Troll Culture. I have shared this story before but...a few yrs ago, I was at an after-play reception at La MaMa. Wine, crackers, etc. There was an old white woman who was trying to pick a fight about some political issues with the cast, who were not having it. So she started talking to me about 'immigrants taking over the country'  or 'blue lives matter.' I happened to be in a whimsical mood...maybe it was the wine. She would say these things to me, perhaps trying to troll my outrage. I would repeat exactly what she said, tilt my head up as if I was thinking about it, maybe take a sip of wine, smile, and then ask her 'now do you REALLY believe that?' She would go 'oh yeah oh yeah' and add more detail. I would ask her with sincere curiosity 'who told you that?' When we got down to the foundation of every one of her beliefs there was absolutely nothing there: pure fiction or rumor or ugly old superstitions. Btw, I also saw these views gave her a sense of identity and community. Anyway, she would start to react in a cagey fashion as the questions got more and more specific. Then she would quickly switch to another topic realizing that she wasn't making sense or winning. This went on for some time as she jumped from issue to issue. In some cases she would pre-bate the argument by saying 'well you probably think (blank)' as a way to goad me. But her beliefs about me were so far off-base that I had an easy time shocking her. I simply would say 'no I don't believe that. Who told you I believe that?' I reminded her that she just made up an entire story in her head about me...when she could have just asked me what I thought. I asked her 'now how many stories did you make up in your head about Trayvon Martin? Or immigrants taking your jobs?' Her eyes widened. I reminded her that the stories in her head are just that. By this time she had gone from being a loud troll to completely meek and actually listening. I concluded our conversation with a possible overreach: I told her to not watch so much cable news. I have had conversations like this again and again with people. I'm not trying to convert. I am just trying to listen and get at the heart of hatred or rage b/c when you dig down really deep there is nothing there that makes any sense. It's the craziest thing. The world runs on this anger/hatred and not only is it illogical, but it's based on nothing. NADA. ZIP. We are destroying ourselves over something that doesn't even really work. It's like burning down a house to fight a ghost...and a ghost that's in my head. Sheer lunacy. 

1 comment:

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